December 18, 2018


I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about Twitter recently.  The direction of my thinking on this social media platform is mostly aimed at trying to determine if it’s something I want to continue using.  (As I write this, I haven’t tweeted a thing for weeks on either of the two Twitter accounts I’ve created.)

Though I haven’t come to any real firm conclusions yet, I’m beginning to feel more and more comfortable not tweeting.  In the beginning, when I first stopped, I felt like I’d gone cold turkey and was inches away from clenching up and breaking out in a cold sweat.  Then the days began to pass and it seemed like I was beating the beast’s hold on me.  I could clearly feel its grip lessening day by day.  As I write this, I have almost no urge to read what others have posted on Twitter, and I have zero desire to tweet.

I guess, looking back, I had seemingly fallen into what I’m more and more seeing as a self-destructive pattern of behavior.  Because I am such a political person, I was mostly tweeting political things.  (By the way, if you were to ask me today why I’m so politically inclined, I’d answer that I studied political philosophy in college—as an undergrad—and then moved on to other things in grad school, but that I’m still obsessed with politics because it is one very important way humans expressive themselves collectively, and there is nothing more fascinating than human expression.)

So I am very progressive and I was using Twitter to declare my version of Holy War on regressives.  (I won’t refer to them as “conservatives” because they aren’t trying to conserve anything.)  In fact, they want to take us back to a time when WASPs effectively owned the country because they suffer from a kind of white angst.  Of course, there’s great irony in the fact that political regressives feel this way since they think America suffers from what they call a “culture of entitlement,” meaning that too many feel like government owes them something.  At the same time, they want the rest of us to unquestioningly recognize their preeminence and to behave appropriately subservient.  If that isn’t acting privileged and entitled, then I don’t know what is.

Back when I was still tweeting about politics, I had a few favored individuals I liked to seek out and clash with on a daily basis.  I began to realize, though, that these Twitter wars weren’t helping me to feel better or victorious or good about myself and what I was becoming.  In fact, the more I engaged in these skirmishes, the more spite and anger I experienced.  A kind of red-face rage began to fill me, and I started feeling disgust with both those I was tweeting against as well as myself.  Despite the fact that I often “won” these Twitter conflicts, I didn’t feel like a winner.  I felt hateful, mean, and petty.

I really feel so much calmer now that I’ve walked away from Twitter and have stopped tweeting nasty things to those I disagree with.  I like to think of myself as someone who eschews violence.  But there is more than one way to attack a person.  One can pick up a weapon and inflict physical pain, or one can login to one’s Twitter account and send out hurtful messages which leave ugly scars that are invisible to the naked eye.

The self-reflection I’ve been doing mirrors the self-reflection our nation will eventually have to engage in once it moves past this moment of anger and brutal tribalism.  We will have to come to terms with how we’ve treated our political opponents.  This reckoning is likely to be painful.  It is likely to be instructive as well.  Let’s hope our nation learns an important lesson from this difficult historical moment.



9 thoughts on “December 18, 2018

  1. I’ve often wondered what attracts people to social media. I was always a spectator, never used the apps myself, except for YouTube, WhatsApp and Facebook. In fact, when I stopped using all of the three apps above, I was wondering how I’ll spend my time, and whether I’ll be upset by abstracting myself from such apps. However, now, I do not see them with as much importance as before. Actually, even if I had access to other apps, I would prefer to not use them, for I do not find any purpose of mine I need to fulfill by using them. While being a spectator and an observer and not a user, I noticed a lot of changes/habits/actions/feelings were caused by them, some good and some bad. Overall, I guess my viewpoint on social media is that it’s overrated. By a lot. But that’s only me, and each to their own.


    1. Yes. As you are well aware, I have stopped using Twitter and feel no ill effects. Twitter, especially, bring out the worst in me so good riddance! Thank you for this comment. I will check out your blog.


  2. I feel you. Twitter is like rush hour traffic. Generally soul-crushing, bad for the blood pressure, not usually fatal but the threat of murder is always there. Better off without it. Stay positive. Stay sane.


    1. Your comment is great. It made me laugh my ass off. (Well, not quite; I just checked and it’s still there.) But yes. I was finding that Twitter was turning me into this person who wanted to get the last word in, to be proven right, to be seen having beaten my opponents. In other words, it had turned me into a 13-year-old again.


  3. I sometimes wonder what is the point of Twitter? I post on Twitter primarily to plug my blog and my book and the result after many years is 6.5k followers. I’ve not got anything like that number in book sales or WordPress followers so I’ve come to think of Twitter as a sort of mutual hand shaking site, nothing more.


    1. Do you remember, back in school, there was that one boy or girl in class who could make everyone laugh or cringe by uttering a single perfect line or retort? Twitter is where all those folks gravitated too.


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